When pumps fail: 24 hours on MDI in Vegas

I killed my insulin pump last Thursday.

What happened?

Not on purpose, mind you- I was in Las Vegas for the 2017 USBC Open bowling tournament (that’s tenpins if you’re overseas). It was hot – 100℉ (38℃). I was hanging out by the hotel pool with some friends drinking piña coladas, and decided to sit in the pool for a bit to cool off, and I guess I stayed in just a hair too long. Continue Reading →

#2017ADA and the Twitter “photo ban”

The leading controversy out of this year’s American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions in San Diego, CA hasn’t been anything really related to Diabetes- or even anything medical. It’s been attempts by the ADA to ban attendees of the conference from sharing photos and accounts of presentations and sessions on social media. While there may be some justification for attempts to enforce this at the ADA conference itself (I don’t believe there is, and I’ll explain that a little further down the page), there have also been “take this post down” messages tweeted at people sharing photos from events that are not even part of the official conference: Continue Reading →

Being a human guinea pig (or lab rat, if you prefer)

(Note: I probably should have posted this last week on Clinical Trials Day, but it was also #DBlogWeek, so it got delayed)

Where do new drugs and treatments for diabetes come from? The short answer, of course, is “from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers,” but there’s a long road from someone coming up with an idea for a new device or drug and that device or drug actually getting regulatory approval and making it to market so that your doctor can prescribe it for you. Continue Reading →

Beyond the ‘betes- DBlogWeek #5

Share an interest, hobby, passion, something that is YOU.  If you want to explore how it relates to or helps with diabetes you can.   Or let it be a part of you that is completely separate from diabetes, because there is more to life than just diabetes!

Who am I, beyond the Diabetes?

It’s tough to pick just one thing to highlight.

I’m a musician:

Saxes, rhythm guitar, clarinet, piano and vocals. I play with a local band in Oceanside, CA on a monthly basis, and I’ve also been known to play with some friends out in the Riverside, CA area that go by the name Willie Jack and the Whiskey Shooters. I’ve been playing music almost my whole life. Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Marching Band, Pep Band, Jazz Band and the like all the way through from middle school, high school, and college. I consider myself fortunate to still have opportunities to get out and jam.

 

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When Diabetes brings me down- DBlogWeek Day 4

Welcome to Thursday of DBlogWeek! Here’s today’s prompt:

May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope?

Wow! Where to begin?

Any chronic illness can be depressing, but in many ways, Diabetes is unique. To call it time-consuming and draining is a grave understatement. Most other chronic diseases have (by comparison) fairly easy, static management. I don’t say this to belittle or downplay the seriousness of those conditions, but take (for example) hypothyroidism. Your doctor tests the level of thyroid hormones in your blood, and prescribes a dose of levothyroxine (Synthroid) to replace the hormone deficit. You take your dose once a day, and all is well. Continue Reading →

The Blame Game – DBlogWeek 2017 #3

Today’s Prompt:

Having diabetes often makes a visit to the doctor a dreaded experience, as there is invariably bad news of one kind or another.  And sometimes the way the doctor talks to you can leave you feeling like you’re at fault.  Or maybe you have a fantastic healthcare team, but have experienced blame and judgement from someone else in your life – friend, loved one, complete stranger.  Think about a particularly bad instance, how that person talked to you, the words they used and the conversation you had.  Now, the game part.  Let’s turn this around.  If you could turn that person into a puppet, what would you have them say that would leave you feeling empowered and good about yourself?   Let’s help teach people how to support us, rather than blame us!

It’s not one episode that sticks in my mind, but rather a couple of years of them. It was probably only 8 or 12 doctor visits, but they were enough to give me a few years of functional burnout.

I was appreciative of the fact that the doctor gave me a discount for paying cash (well, okay, a check- but you get the idea). I was appreciative of the fact that the office could do an A1c test on the spot with a fingerstick. I was appreciative of the various insulin samples that I got. BUT neither the doctor nor his staff seemed to put it together that I appreciated those things because I was uninsured. That meant that as soon as those sample vials they so generously gave me at each appointment ran out, I was back to buying N and R at WalMart. I wasn’t testing as often as they wanted because at almost $1/strip, I couldn’t afford to. I let my blood sugar run higher out of fear of going low. I had a Glucagon kit, but I was terrified of having to use it- because I wasn’t sure I could afford to replace it. Continue Reading →

DBlogWeek 2017 #2- The cost of a chronic illness

Insulin and other diabetes medications and supplies can be costly.  Here in the US, insurance status and age (as in Medicare eligibility) can impact both the cost and coverage.  So today, let’s discuss how cost impacts our diabetes care.  Do you have advice to share?  For those outside the US, is cost a concern?  Are there other factors such as accessibility or education that cause barriers to your diabetes care?  (This topic was inspired by suggestions from Rick and Jen.)

Cost doesn’t impact my diabetes care much right now, but it has in the past, and I fear that it may again in the future.

Flashback: Before the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) took effect.

I was a self-employed IT consultant. Work wasn’t steady, but I did some digging to see what my insurance options were for a person with T1D looking to buy an individual plan. The conclusion I reached was: I was best served paying cash for doctor’s appointments. I could get lab tests done by ordering them in advance online for a decent discount. I could survive on Multiple Daily Injections (MDI) of insulin. Store-brand meters and test strips were adequate. All of that was cheaper than the $3000/mo premium that I was quoted from the ONE company that would even offer me an insurance policy.

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D-Blog Week 2017 Day One: Getting Started

Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rulebook that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random.  What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens?  Or, take this topic another way and tell us about some good things diabetes has brought into your, or your loved one’s, life that you never could have expected?

Jumping right in here with my first-ever post on this blog!

Being prepared for the unexpected is a huge component of not just my “Diabetes Life”, but also my professional life. I’m a systems administrator/systems architect by day, so, much of the time, it seems like ALL I DO is think about “What could go wrong?” “How could it go wrong?” “How can I prevent it from going wrong?” and “If it DOES go wrong, how will I respond/fix things?”.

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